After tackling an Ask Afrobella, it’s always great to catch up with the person who wrote to me with a question. The questioning bella formerly known as “C” replied to the encouraging comments all of you left on the A Most Unique Ask Afrobella post. Here’s that comment in its entirety, in case you missed it:
“Wow. There’s so much here to respond to.
First of all, thank you, Afrobella, for being so wonderful in your response, and dedicating the time to doing this.
Secondly, the hair advice is all excellent, and I will definitely be trying/following/etc. it as I get time.
Now for the other stuff.
As some commenters have said, I really would prefer it if I were referred to using female pronouns. I see myself as a girl. Therefore it’s difficult for me to read/ hear something calling me ‘he’ and apply it to myself.
The “Am I really ready?” question. Well, yes. I’ve dealt with this for 6 years of secondary school (I’m going into upper sixth in September. Not sure what year that is in American terms, but I’m 17). I know that I’ll be happier presenting how I want to be, whatever the outcome. I am ready for this. However, to be honest, I’m not sure that there will be any problems. Since emailing Afrobella the first time, I’ve come out completely in my school. Everyone there knows now, and everyone is incredibly supportive. People have been curious, but not hostile (“Go C!!” – My school is, thankfully, not one where I’ll need pepper spray, but thanks for the advice).
As for why I didn’t want my photo/name published. Well, my full name (not Chia) is quite rare, so any references to me on the internet are therefore fairly easy to find.
Whilst I would never want to be “stealth”, I also want to be in control of who knows my medical history. Dan asked “You think they wonâ€™t notice you, when you are suddenly walking around with breasts?”
No, I’m not that naÃ¯ve, but at the same time, do you go around saying “Hi, I’m Dan, I’m gay”?
I don’t really know why I didn’t want my photograph published. Just being in the closet mindset for so long, I suppose. Old habits die hard. Then again, it’s not as if a photograph can be searched for in the same way as a name. By all means, Afrobella, publish it. It might be helpful for people to see where I’m coming from.
There was a lot that I wanted to cover here, so I might have forgotten something, but I’ll post it if I have.
Again, thanks, to everyone, for your support and advice.
I was super happy to hear that “C,” now Chia, was ready and resolute for whatever lay ahead.
I was even happier to hear from Chia again this weekend, this time with a new photo, a new hairstyle, and new experiences. The photo on the left is the first one Chia sent me, when she was understandably shy about posting photos on the internet. Now, check out Chia with her fly twists — this is a recent passport photo, so that explains the expression, or lack thereof. And she shared a sweet story about going back to school.
“There have been a couple of comments, but only from the younger years, and nothing openly hostile. I’m definitely feeling much happier, and people have been generally accepting and wonderful. A genuinely heartwarming example of this is as follows:
A small child – year 7/8 (that’s about 11 years old) – came up to me after school the other day and asked “I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but is it true that you had a sex change?”. So, I explained about my situation, and when I had finished, he replied “Is that all? Why is everyone making such a fuss then?” I found that lovely.”
I do too, Chia. And I hope that’s the norm rather than the exception. Hearing that story lifted my spirits, and gave me a little more hope for a more tolerant future — life is too short and too beautiful for hatred, judgment, and phobias against people in general, I say. Thank you so much for approaching me with your question, and I sincerely hope by you being so open and allowing me to share photos of you with other bellas and fellas out there, others can learn from you.
I wish you the best of luck, and I know the rest of the Afrobella family does as well!